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Chornobyl cleanup workers announce indefinite protest in Luhansk

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Sept. 4, 2012, 8:04 p.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine

Ukrainians veterans of the clean-up from the Chernobyl disaster raise their ''liquidators' identity cards'' as they protest against benefit cuts in front of the government building in Kyiv on November 7, 2011. In September, lawmakers gave initial approval to a bill cutting back benefits paid to those who helped clean up the April 1986 nuclear disaster and those who still live on the affected lands.
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LUHANSK – Chornobyl cleanup workers have announced an indefinite protest in Luhansk, the chairman of the regional branch of the Chornobyl-86 union of Chornobyl cleanup workers with disabilities, Oleksiy Demchenko, told Interfax-Ukraine.

The protesters put up six tents in a square near the building of Luhansk Regional State Administration, he said

According to Demchenko, the protesters demand respect to "social fairness, which doesn't exist today." In particular, they want that the size of pensions to Chornobyl cleanup workers be based on the average wages they used to receive at the time when they took part in the cleanup operations at Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP).

Demchenko added that the miners that worked at the NPP after it had been covered with the sarcophagus today receive much higher pensions than the conscript soldiers that cleaned graphite from the NPP in the first days after the accident. In addition, children that suffer health problems caused by the Chornobyl accident are also deprived of their rightful share, he said.

Some 100 people took part in the protest.

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